I recently ran across two articles that discuss the traits of introverts as opposed to extroverts. As an introvert and the author of a book about introversion in the church, I was very interested in these articles. However, upon reading them, it became clear to me that the first article (How an Introvert Can Be Happier), presented a very misinformed view of introverts, while the second (The Church Lady blog. Can Introverts Handle an Extroverted Church Service?) expresses what I believe is God’s heart toward the introvert.
The reason I believe the WSJ article is misinformed is because it vaguely suggests that extroverts have a lock on happiness, and that introverts need to get with the extroversion program in order to be happy. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many introverts, including myself, were confused and miserable trying to act like extroverts in order to fit in to an extroverted society. When I realized who I was and the mold in which God created me, I ceased striving to be something that I wasn’t. My impression is that the root of unhappiness springs from the desire to be someone other than who God created us to be. We become unhappy trying to achieve a destiny other than that which God prescribes.
Not surprisingly, the WSJ article promotes a worldly view of what it takes to be happy. Follow the status quo. Do whatever is popular and successful. That is why so many people, especially young people, imitate and emulate popular athletes and entertainers. After all, don’t famous entertainers always appear to be happy and successful, even though it isn’t necessarily so?
The eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 prescribes to the Christian the recipe for happiness. According to Wikipedia, the term beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beātitūdō which means happy, fortunate, or blissful. True happiness does not come from emulating others at the expense of ourselves, but it comes to those who are poor in spirit; those who mourn; those who are meek; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; those who are merciful; those who are pure in heart; those who are peacemakers; and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. These are qualities which are exclusive neither to the introvert nor to the extrovert, but to those who love God and obey his word.
Introverts, as well as extroverts, are fearfully and wonderfully made. The key to happiness is to realize that we are His, and that we are nothing unless we are adhering to His plan for our lives. And that plan involves recognizing whose we are, as well as who we are.
Louis N. Jones
Author of Wallflowers in the Kingdom: A Vindication of Introverts in the Body of Christ